22 Lady Audley's Scsret.
" But in all that time did you never write to your wife Y"
" Never till a week before this vessel set sad. I could ao\
write when everything looked so black. I could not write and
tell her that I was fighting hard with despair and death. I
waited for better fbrtune; and when that came, I wrote, telling
her that I should be in England almost as soon as my letter,
and giving her an address at a cofiee-house in London, where
she could write to me, teUing me where to find her; though she
's hardly likely to have left her father's house."
He fell into a reverie after this, and puffed meditatively at his
cigar. His companion did not disturb him. The last ray of the
summer dayHght had died out, and the pale Hght of the crescent
moon only remained.
Presently George Talboys flung away his cigar, and, turning
to the governess, cried abruptly, " Miss Morley, if, when I get
to England, I hear that anything has happened to my wife, I
shaU fall down dead."
"My dear Mr. Talboys, why do you think of these things?
God is very good to us j He wiU not afiHct us beyond our power
of endurance. I see all things, perhaps, ia a melancholy Hght;
for the long monotony of my Hfe has given me too much ti.sie
to flunk over my troubles."
"And my Hfe has been all action, privation, toil, alternate
hoije and despair; Ihave had no time to think upon the chances
of anything happening to my darHng. What a blind, reeldi'ss
fool I have been! Three years and a half, and not one Hue,
one word from her, or from any mortal creature who knows her.
Heaven above! what may not have happened ?"
In the agitation of his mind he began to walk rapidly up and
down the lonely deck, the governess following, and trying to
" I swear to you, Miss Morley," he said, " that, till you spoke
to me to-night, I never felt one shadow of fear; and now I have
that sick, sinking dread at my heart, which you talked of an
hour ago. Let me alone, please, to get over it my own way."
She drew silently away from him, and seated herself by thf
side of the vessel, looking over into the water.
The same August sun which had gone down behind the waste
of waters gHnunered redly upon the broad face of the old clock
over that ivy-covered archway which leads into the gardf na ^